GARY A. GIAMARTINO, 61, of Chestnut Hill, is dean and professor of management and leadership at La Salle University's School of Business. Giamartino, who came to La Salle in July from Southern Illinois University Edwardsville, collaborated with architects on a 78,000-square-foot, $35 million building that La Salle will erect at Chew Avenue and Wister Street in East Germantown. The project, to be announced today, is expected to create 600 construction jobs. The building is planned to open for classes in January 2016.
Q: Why is La Salle building a new school of business?
A: We live in an era where our students are doing internships outside Philadelphia. There are alumni working in every major business capital of the world. We expect that's going to grow, and our students need a facility that will prepare them for that.
Q: What's been the biggest challenge getting to this point?
A: For me, it's the commitment that this is going to be a first-class facility, and we're going to put money into it to make sure we're competitive in the 21st century.
Q: Who's funding the project?
A: The university is putting up $20 million. The remaining $15 million will be raised from alumni, more than half of which has already been contributed.
Q: When is groundbreaking?
A: The new site, which has an existing building on it, has been fenced in and is going to be demolished. We would like the work to begin as soon as possible.
Q: What will the new building provide for students?
A: There will be learning space for student-to-student, student-to-faculty and faculty-to-faculty interaction. There will be classrooms and lounges next to faculty offices. The building will have completely wireless infrastructure to enable students to interact in real time with other students and executives from all over the world. We'll also have videoconferencing capabilities.
Q: Drexel recently opened a new business school. Now, you're building one. How much do new facilities influence where a student matriculates?
A: There are lots of decisions that go into a choice like that: quality of the school, university traditions, academic programs, quality of faculty and the facility. I think [the new building] will help us to attract more good students.
Q: How many students are in the School of Business?
A: About 20 to 25 percent of the student body, in any given year.
Q: You've collaborated with the architects. How's that worked?
A: We talked about things like the location of classrooms and offices to facilitate collaborative learning and a teamwork environment. I can tell you that 80 percent of our graduating class last year had at least one co-curricular engagement. That means they were doing something in addition to taking classes to help them grow.